I’m feeling a little smug.
For once I did a little bit better on my A race than I had hoped for, both in terms of time and position. It was a ‘lesser event’ with limited competition but a medal is a medal and it’s not my fault the really good guys didn’t turn up in my age group.
You’ve got to be in it to win it
The most important thing to me was the PB/PR time for the HIM which reflected an easier course than the GB Middle Distance champs in the summer which I was also relatively happy with.
Despite this being my A race I would say that I did NOT train properly for this specific event – unlike IMUK last year where I made more of an effort to train as I should. By ‘not training properly’ I mean that I didn’t really put in enough miles over the year and for a variety of reasons didn’t get sufficient faster work in during the peak period nor did I taper properly with a week in the Alps. That all sounds relatively bad, I suppose, but I would counter myself by saying that I did do a more than reasonable job in the various phases of training and probably enjoyed myself more as a result.
Perhaps that’s a good lesson? We are meant to enjoy all this time we spend training (on the whole I do).
Race Build Up & Travel
The logistics of getting to and from the hotel and race briefing and race were all good. Add that to a good night’s sleep and the stress levels were low. Other than forgetting to calibrate my bike power meter (Assioma), running out of Glide and being a bit light on pre-race hydration I reckon all was generally good.
Race – Swim
Pleasant water temperatures and my new-found ability to swim in straight lines led to a solid middle of the pack swim
Should I calibrate the PM or not? I gambled that the ASSIOMA is usually OK anyway. And I had calibrated it in the hotel room the previous night (hmmmm).
The bike was hillier than I’d bargained on and I probably should not have had a compact cassette but that was not so important.
After 2 hours it felt like I was cycling through treacle even though there was no wind. Possibly that was under-hydration or some residual fatigue from the previous week? Most likely it was because the HVMN KETONE in my body was used up. I lost 2 people I was cycling ‘vaguely near’ (ie just to be clear there was no drafting go on) as a result of the aforesaid treacle, meaning THEY lost me. I hoped this was just a ‘bike thing’ and I’d be OK on the run, indeed holding off a bit on the bike may well have been what I needed to do in some previous races.
Bike power targets missed by a fair way. So much so that I’ve not even bothered to check.
Yet my bike leg time was ‘good’ perhaps due to the nature of the course.
Change shoes, pick up a gel. It’s not rocket science.
The run went well and I gained the time I needed here for my PB in the HM leg. Again the course was a lot hillier than I’d bargained on but my lack of running over the previous 3 weeks didn’t seem to be too much of a problem. Indeed I only cramped up once with the finish line in sight…cramping is my perennial problem in longer distances.
STRYD certainly kept me honest and I ran an intended negative split. As usual, STRYD helped me hold-off on the hills and realise than power was lower than average on the downhill bits (that was OK).
My HM time as part of a HIM is something like 125% of my HM standalone PB. I should be able to get that percentage lower (other things being equal) with a bit more resilience from the bike leg.
Nutrition + Hydration
I ate and hydrated relatively sensibly in race week.
Despite the temperature being ‘alright’ for summer I decided to follow up my previous successes in the year with two of Precision Hydration’s salt sachets – one the night before and one for breakfast. Salt’s always nice for breakfast !!
I had various other things like Beet-It and Curranz at various times and followed various loading strategies with them. Specifically I took more Beet-It than I normally would and also had one stashed away for use in T2.
Oats and a banana for breakfast made for a relatively healthy start. After that, it was High5’s sachets which I waited until I arrived at the venue before loading into various bottles and my Aerofill ‘hydration system’ on my TT bike.
I also loaded up the Aerofill with two bottles of Hvmn Ketone supplement (BHB), these being to specifically take me through the bike leg.
Kit and Gadgets
There’s nothing too different from what I normally use. I’ll just list them.
- Swim – Zone3 wetsuit, Zoggs glasses, earplugs and race cap.
- Bike – Speccy TT, Mavic Cosmic CXR Wheels with pre-supplied tyres/tubes (rear is a tub), ISM saddle, Large Rotor Q-ring 53T, Shimano Ultegra components, Favero ASSIOMA Power meter pedals, Wahoo Elemnt and various other bits of carbon
- Run – New balance + STRYD
- Running/Cycling sunglasses from SmartBuyGlasses UK
- HRM-TRI + Garmin 935 as my ‘event recording device’ and run watch.
I’ve pretty much stopped using Q-Rings on my bikes except on my TT bike. I just can’t get them to shift properly EXCEPT with the Ultegra front mech on this bike. I just daren’t move or change it !! So it stays on. I definitely prefer Q-Rings and I think they make me faster on the whole but they CERTAINLY make me slower if/when a chain keeps coming off.